Waterfell by Amalie Howard has one of the most imaginative premises that I've read in a young adult novel in quite some time. However, I need you to throw the summary completely out of the window because very little from it happens until about halfway through the novel.
From the start I could tell that Nerissa Marin was not the average teenager. Okay, I'll grant that it was a given from the first pages in the novel that she wasn't human. That being said, she was different from most kids her age. While she had the typical selfishness that we expect from teenagers, she also had a great awareness of her responsibilities as a leader and of her potential of bringing danger to her friends. While she was standoffish to Lotharius "Lo" Seavon, she had a healthy relationship with her friends and "foster" family because she had no hesitation in talking about her problems or confiding in them. I liked that a lot. What I did not like was the instant lovey feelings that she felt for Lo, though she kept pushing him away. *sigh* I'll grant that she's a different species, and I know that instalove is a real thing with teenagers, but... *takes a deep breath* It's not my thing. Moving on!
You know what was awesome about Waterfell? The world-building. See, I went into the book thinking that I was reading about mermaids. Did you think it was mermaids? Look at the summary of the book again. No mermaids there! I will say that the Aquarathi are water creatures, but I'm going to leave it at that. (You aren't going to be reading Of Poseidon or The Little Mermaid.) I want you to be just as surprised as me when you find out what they are. While my mind was not exactly blown, I gave Amalie Howard the slow hand clap in my head for coming up with such a neat concept.
I did not care for how long it took for the groundwork for Waterfell to be laid. I enjoyed the world-building and getting to know the characters, but the plot that was hinted upon in the summary did not come about until well into the book. Waterfell read like a contemporary novel with just a dash of paranormal for a long time. There was a lot of focus on Nerissa's issues with high school drama, things going on with her friends and family, and pushing away the cute new boy at school for dumb reasons. The parts about the Aquarathi were the most interesting, but they did not pop up nearly enough for my taste. (What can I say, I love me some full-on fantasy!)
Overall, Waterfell was a good book with a very unique world. Nerissa is a great heroine and the Aquarathi are an interesting race. If you're looking for a "mermaid book" that is completely different than anything you've read before, then this is the book for you.
To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received an advance copy of the book for reviewing purposes through JKS Communications in exchange for an honest review. The book was likely provided by the publisher or author, which has in no way affected the outcome of my review. All opinions expressed are rambling, honest, and completely my own....more
Lies Beneath is the debut novel of Anne Greenwood Brown. It is a young adult novel that is told froReview originally posted at Bibliophilia, Please.
Lies Beneath is the debut novel of Anne Greenwood Brown. It is a young adult novel that is told from the viewpoint of a male mermaid and is set in and around Lake Superior.
When some people think about mermaids, Disney's The Little Mermaid comes to mind. However, the only similarity you will find between Calder White and Ariel are the fins.You see, he is a cold-blooded killer who hunts humans for sustenance and survival. Where reptiles need heat to moderate their body temperature, mermaids need positive emotions to maintain their mental stability. One of Calder's favorite places to hunt humans is in the Caribbean, where the story opens. Despite his urgent, ever-present need to feed, Calder is experimenting on how long he can keep that driving force at bay. Unfortunately, his sisters call him home before he can refuel his emotions. An even stronger force than hunger or family beckons him back to Lake Superior - revenge.
The writing of Lies Beneath has a very literary feel to it and is probably my favorite thing about the book. Not only is it very well-written, it pays homage to quite a few different poets and poems from the Victorian era. There may be a few more that were sneaked in there, but I will reread before I say for sure. I did not see it as a hard read, but I would be interested in seeing how teenagers react to literature being woven into the story. Additionally, I was reading the ARC and saw no glaring grammatical errors. (They usually have flashing lights on them.) 5/5
I had no problems with the world-building in this novel. Other than the fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen, this is the only mermaid story that I can remember reading. Due to that and my extensive reading of mythology, I did not have an Ariel-esque image planted in my head. I was able to take on Anne Greenwood Brown's unique creatures with a fairly clear mind. I am completely okay with merpeople being a little bit scary - I've always been afraid of what swims in the water. (If there's no cement in the bottom, you can count me out.) Therefore, murderous and vengeful creatures aren't really a stretch from what I already think "lies beneath". I would have liked the mermaids to be a little more fleshed out (and I don't mean under the seashells), but this was Brown's debut and the first in a trilogy. Hopefully the next two books will give me what I was wishing for in this one. 4/5
The pace of the book was average, as far as young adult novels are concerned. I wasn't clinging to the pages as I was whipped along a roller coaster story, but neither was I twiddling my thumbs in the park. It was a water book, and it flowed nicely. (Oh, come on! I had to say it.) I can't imagine teen readers getting bored. 3/5
Since this was a part of an ARC tour, my attention span could be interpreted as being skewed. I had two ARCs here at the same time, and both had to be read within a week. However, I think I would have read this book just as quickly if I was reading it at my own leisure. Calder was a fun character to live through, and I never lost interest in his metamorphosis. 4/5
The extra magic in this book was just how intelligent it is. I don't want to say too much that will give away the story, but there is more to it under the surface. (Alright, alright, I'll stop.) 4/5
Everything adds up to 4 Stars in my new system, which pretty fairly reflects where I would have put it without the math. Lies Beneath is a well-written, enjoyable book that I think will appeal to both male and female teenagers (and teens at heart). Anyone with a bit of an English or literary background will especially appreciate this book.
The Debut Author Challenge ARC Tours ladies were kind enough to allow me participate in the tour for this book. The book was likely provided to the tour either by the publisher or author, which has had no effect on the outcome of the review. All opinions expressed are honest and my own....more